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Temporary Foreign Workers: Health and Wellness

Free 1 Hour
In Canada, a growing number of employers hire temporary foreign workers (TFWs). TFWs have a temporary migratory status in Canada; their mobility in the labour market is generally restricted, and their length of stay is limited and predefined. Historically, these programs have been restricted to agriculture and live-in care work, however other programs now allow TFWs to integrate into the Canadian labour market more widely.

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This webinar will present in what way the different programs and policy rules define how, when and why TFWs can obtain employment in Canada and how they structure the working and living conditions of these workers.

Take-home messages

  • While individual TFWs are temporary, their permanence as a group represents growing segment of the population in Canada
  • TFWs’ restricted access to social rights greatly affects their health and wellbeing

Learning Outcomes

The different programs that allow temporary foreign workers to access the Canadian labour market
The different categories of temporary foreign workers
The challenges temporary foreign workers face while in Canada with regards to their access to different social rights, and how this may affect workers’ health and wellbeing


Dalia Gesualdi-Fecteau
Dalia Gesualdi-Fecteau, LLD, is a professor at the Faculty of Law and Political Science of the Université de Québec à Montréal (UQAM). She is a member of the Québec Bar and practiced law for several years at Québec's Labour Standards Commission. Her research focuses on sociolegal issues relating to the effective implementation of labour law. In the past years, she has studied in what context temporary foreign workers mobilize their labour rights. She is also interested in the consequences of the porous frontiers between working time and personal time and seeks to document the impact of labour laws' jurisdictional and administrative structure on the enforcement of this regulatory framework.
Adam Perry
Adam Perry is currently Assistant Professor of Adult Education at St. Francis Xavier University. His current research examines the dynamics of internal migration among 'low-skilled' temporary foreign workers (TFWs) in Canada. In his work, Adam investigates how and why TFWs migrate between provinces. Through interviews with workers and worker advocates, Adam's work documents the ways in which workers tackle the complex processes of inter-provincial relocation in spite of precarious legal status. In particular Adam is interested in how TFWs, by engaging in internal migratory practices, may be molding a unique critical response to the structural vulnerabilities associated with non-citizenship as these intersect with uneven regional development within Canada. With a particular focus on developing notions of migrant worker agency both theoretically and empirically, Adam's work contributes to discussions on migrant workers' subjective experiences of work, migration and community formation. Adam Perry is a co-investigator with the On the Move Partnership. He is also a co-investigator on the SSHRC Partnership Project Closing the Employment Standards Enforcement Gap
Barb Neis
Dr. Barb Neis is John Paton Lewis Distinguished University Professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. Based in the Department of Sociology, she is also the Co-Director of the SafetyNet Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Research. She was co-awarded the Vanier Institute of the Family Mirabelli-Glossop Award for distinguished contribution to the work of the Vanier Institute. She is a past president of the Canadian Association for Research on Work and Health, is currently Project Director on a 7-year project called On the Move: Employment-Related Geographical Mobility in the Canadian Context, and is co-chair of the Newfoundland node of a second project, the Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy.
Santiago Escobar
National Representative with United Food and Commercial Workers; Canada's private-sector union Santiago Escobar is a National Representative with United Food and Commercial Workers; Canada's private-sector union. For more than three decades, UFCW Canada has led the fight for the rights of migrant workers in all sectors. In collaboration with the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA), UFCW Canada operates a national, on-the-ground network of Worker Support Centres with staff and volunteers, helping thousands of migrant workers to navigate and enforce their current legal rights such as access to collective bargaining and entitlements, as well as providing Health and Safety and Know Your Rights training.

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